Droughts, coupled with the return of the Taliban, has led to an alarming rise in early and forced marriages in Afghanistan. Pic/Getty Images
Research -based podcasts can sometimes be quite tedious to listen to, particularly because of how dense, pedantic, and rigorous the content is - it almost always demands complete attention from the listener. But, journalist Reetika Revathy Subramanian's just released podcast Climate Brides, despite taking the academic route, keeps it simple.
The podcast, an evidence-based, multimedia project on early marriages across South Asia's fragile climate hotspots, is an offshoot of Subramanian's doctoral research at the University of Cambridge where she is investigating the links between early marriage and extreme drought in western India, particularly, the Marathwada region.
Reetika Revathy Subramanian
Subramanian incorporates collaborative storytelling and comics, illustrated by artist-researcher Maitri Dore, to supplement her conversational series. From climate change increasing the labour burden on women and girls (in East Africa, the drought led women into casual sex work and selling intoxicants); to heatwaves, and floods, coupled with the return of the Taliban, leading to an alarming rise in early and forced marriages in Afghanistan, the podcast reveals why the climate crisis is also a social and gender issue. "In the wake of a disaster... news articles and civil society reports indicate that marrying off a minor daughter during a climate-related disaster can mean there is one less mouth to feed. Yet, globally, there is a serious lack of robust scientific data to measure the impacts of climate change on girls' lives. This gap in global research and evidence risks leaving girls' and communities' voices out of the programmes and policies that must protect them," says Subramanian about what prompted the podcast.
Having tuned into this series - only two episodes have been aired as of now - we cannot agree more. Subramanian and her guests ensure that we listen, absorb and experience this unique challenge posed by climate change. It's hard not to feel for the women, who are bearing the brunt of it. The transcripts of each recording, and the curated reading list available in the library section of the website, offer a more nuanced and holistic understanding of the problem.